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Funding cuts at heart of hospital problems

Annette King
Health Spokesperson

17 February 2014

Funding cuts at heart of hospital problems

The responsibility for overcrowding, staff shortages and poor patient care in our hospitals lies squarely with Health Minister Tony Ryall, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.

Her comments follow reports of unsanitary and overcrowded conditions in hospitals around the country, with an audit at Hutt Hospital finding problems in the maternity, children’s and mental health wards.

“As with many district health boards, funding for Hutt Valley DHB has not increased enough to even cover wages or staff KiwiSaver costs. In 2012/13 it had a $1.9 million shortfall.

“It is disgusting that some of our most vulnerable patients – children, the mentally ill and new mums – are being forced to sleep in lounges or are being turfed out of beds because of staff shortages and budget cut-backs.

“Hospitals have been put under enormous pressure to do more with less - something they have no control over and which is having a devastating impact on patient care.

“Tony Ryall needs to take the blinkers off and see this for what it is – a crisis of his own making.”

ENDS

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